Apple (AAPL) has joined the shareholder roster at Chinese Uber rival DiDi Chuxing through a $1 billion investment that is the taxi-hailing app's biggest ever single funding infusion.
The financing comes as Apple's major growth motor, the iPhone, shows signs of slowing. The company last month missed second-quarter earnings estimates as it posted its first decline in sales in 13 years and gave softer guidance for the current quarter than analysts had expected. On Thursday Apple shares closed down 2.4% at $90.34, its lowest price in almost two years.
The investment is part of a wider round involving "a group of prestigious Chinese and international institutions," said the four-year-old business in a short statement that didn't say what kind of slice of the company Apple gets in return. Chinese Internet company Tencent and e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) are also providing funding.
DiDi said the financing will help "further DiDi's mission of building a data-driven rideshare platform to serve hundreds of millions of Chinese drivers and passengers."
"The endorsement from Apple is an enormous encouragement and inspiration for our four-year-old company," added founder and CEO Cheng Wei.
In the statement Apple CEO Tim Cook said the target "exemplifies the innovation taking place in the iOS developer community in China."
A DiDi representative declined to elaborate on the short statement.
DiDi raised $3 billion in September from investors including newcomers China Investment Corp, Capital Internationa Private Equity Fund, Ping An and others. Existing investors Tencent , Alibaba, Temasek and Coatue Management also participated in the fundraising.
In January China Merchants Bank provided an undisclosed amount of funding as part of a plan for the two to work together on app credit card payments, joint bank cards, car financing services and other initiatives.
DiDi said it completes over 11 million rides a day on its platform, serving close to 300 million users across over 400 Chinese cities. DiDi said it works with over 14 million Chinese car-owners and drivers and claims to have a 87% market share in private car-hailing and over a 99% market share in taxi-hailing.
Other investors include China International Capital, Citic Bank, Beijing Automotive and GGV Capital.